Monday, January 28, 2008

Lemony Bliss!

I love lemon meringue pie! What's not to love - lemon curd, pie crust and fluffy clouds of meringue. Lemon meringue pie is one of my favorite desserts, but I've never made one on my own. I was delighted to see it listed as the January Daring Bakers challenge.

I was a little apprehensive about this challenge, though. I've never made a successful pie crust. They are either too crumbly to form anything resembling a crust or so sticky that I can't get it from the counter to the pie pan. I was pleasantly surprised about this pie crust. It was easy. Not just easy - simple! I used the food processor method and had no problems at all.

So far, it looks great! I'm saving it for tomorrow when my dear husband returns home. I did sneak a taste of the lemon curd bowl and it was wonderful! I'll update the post tomorrow with the DHR (Dear Husband Rating).

Lemon Meringue Pie

Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie

For the Crust:

¾ cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces

2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour

¼ cup (60 mL) granulated sugar

¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt

⅓ cup (80 mL) ice water

For the Filling:

2 cups (475 mL) water

1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar

½ cup (120 mL) cornstarch

5 egg yolks, beaten

¼ cup (60 mL) butter

¾ cup (180 mL) fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

For the Meringue:

5 egg whites, room temperature

½ tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar

¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt

½ tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract

¾ cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

For the Crust: Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt. Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.

Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of ⅛ inch (.3 cm). Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about ½ inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.

For the Filling: Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated.

Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.

For the Meringue: Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.

I made one pie and 4 little tartlets! I wish that I would have had time to make them this weekend while my in-laws were here. I think that they would have enjoyed it, too.

Thank you, Daring Bakers!

DHR: Very tasty!
He loved the pie! It almost made him forget that he is sick with bronchitis.

Note: I had problems with weeping meringue. My mom says it is because I did not let the sugar dissolve. More tips for weeping meringues here.


Aparna said...

Nice looking pie. This was my first DB challenge and first ever LMP, both making-wise and eating-wise.

Dolores said...

Great job! Can't wait to see what your husband thinks.

Sarah said...

Congrats on your successful crust. Your pie looks great!

Big Boys Oven said...

looks absolutely fantastic, well executed!

Deborah said...

It looks wonderful!

Andrea said...

Your pie and tartlets look beautiful!

Terry Thornton said...

Damn! You wait until I leave and make my favorite pie! LOL! Looks great and I bet tastes wonderful.

Your Father-in-law "pie-less" in Mississippi

Beth G. said...

It looks great- my hubby gave it a double thumbs up, he LOVES LMP! You did a GREAT job :O)

Charlena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Princess of the kitchen said...

Lovely Pies. They look great. Well done!

Lunch Buckets said...

Poor pie-less father-in-law! Nice job on the pie :)

Andy, Cherie, and Sarah said...

Those little tartlets just look too cute! I might just have to make a pie so I can make the tartlets too!

Jen Yu said...

You know, it looks great and no one would be the wiser for a weepy meringue!

creampuff said...

Nice job!

Claire said...

What a wonderful treat for the hubby when he comes back. Hope everything tastes looks great!

Nanette said...

I must attest to the tastiness of the pie too. It's over a month later, and I still recall the yumminess of your Lemon Meringue Pie!